If you don't know the state of your network and servers at all times, you are like a blind pilot... disaster awaits. Fortunately, there are now very good VPS monitoring tools – commercial or open source – for networks as mentioned before, VPS monitoring tools.
Since good and free is always better than good and expensive, we've put together a list of open-source Windows Server monitoring tools that are proven to work in networks of all sizes. Featuring capabilities for discovering devices, monitoring network equipment and servers, identifying network trends, graphical presentation of monitoring results, and even backing up switch and router configurations, these monitoring software tools of Windows Server will not fail to amaze you.
Top VPS Monitoring Tools: Enhance Performance and Stability
Cacti is a popular open-source network monitoring VPS software. Valuable for IT infrastructure, it focuses on the graphical representation of the network. Cacti is available as a free download, and it is included in the LAMP suite (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), which offers a standardized software platform for creating graphs for all types of statistical data. If a device or service returns digital data, it is likely that it can be integrated with Cacti. It has templates for server application monitoring platforms – from Linux and Windows servers to Cisco routers and switches – generally anything that communicates with the SNMP protocol. Although the standard method of Cacti data collection is the SNMP protocol, Perl and PHP scripts can also be used.
Cacti divides data collection and graphical display into discrete instances, making it easy to reprocess and reorganize data for various visual representations. For example, you can quickly consult data from past years to see if the behavior of network equipment or the server is abnormal. With Network Weathermap, a PHP plugin for Cacti, you can create real-time maps of your network, which show the load on communication channels between network devices. Cacti is therefore a toolkit with extensive capabilities for graphical display and analysis of network performance trends. It can be used to monitor almost any indicator that can be represented in a chart. However, as this solution supports almost infinite adjustment possibilities, it may be too complex for some applications.
Nagios is a powerful network monitoring tool, actively developed for many years. Written in C language, it can perform almost all the tasks a system and network administrator could expect from a monitoring application package. The web interface is fast and intuitive, and the server part is extremely reliable. Nagio's fairly complex setup can be a problem for beginners, but it is also an advantage, as the tool can be adapted to almost any monitoring task. As with Cacti, a very active community supports Nagios core, so there are various plugins for a wide variety of hardware and software. Nagios allows you to continuously monitor the status of servers, services, network channels, and everything that the IP network layer protocol includes. For example, you can monitor server disk space usage, RAM and CPU usage, FLEXlm license usage, server air temperature, WAN and Internet connection latency, and many other things.
It goes without saying that a server and network monitoring system would not be complete without notifications. The Nagios software platform provides a customizable mechanism for email, SMS, and instant messaging notifications via major Internet messaging services, as well as an escalation process to help make reasonable decisions about who to notify, when, and under what circumstances. Additionally, the display feature presents all monitored equipment in a logical representation of their place in the network, with color codes that flag issues as they arise.
The main disadvantage of Nagios is its configuration process: it is mainly done via the command line, which makes installation very complicated if you have never used it before. Those who are familiar with standard Linux/Unix configuration files should not encounter any particular problems, however. Level up your command-line skills! Dive deep into CLI concepts with our expertly crafted guide.
The possibilities of Nagios are gigantic, but some of them require effort that is not always worth the effort. The benefit of the early warning indicators offered by this tool for so many aspects of the network should not be underestimated, however.
Zabbix is a comprehensive network and VPS monitoring tool, which combines several functions in a web console. It can be configured to monitor and collect data from a wide variety of servers and network equipment. It monitors the services and performance of each object. Zabbix enables monitoring of servers and networks using a wide range of tools, including dedicated monitoring virtualization hypervisors and web application stacks:
Basically, Zabbix works with software agents running on controlled systems. But this solution can also work without agents, using the SNMP protocol. Zabbix supports VMware, Hyper-V, and other virtualization hypervisors, it provides detailed information on hypervisor performance, availability, and activity. In particular, it can monitor Java application servers, web services, and databases. New monitoring hosts can be added manually or through an automatic discovery process. A wide variety of templates are applied by default, for example, those for Linux, FreeBSD, and Windows Server operating systems, as well as for SMTP, HTTP, ICMP, and IPMI protocols.
Zabbix lets you customize the dashboard and web interface, so you can focus on the most important network components. Notifications can be based on custom actions that apply to a host or groups of hosts. You can configure actions that will execute remote commands if certain event criteria are met. The program displays graphs of CPU usage and network bandwidth. Additionally, Zabbix supports custom maps, screens, and even slideshows that illustrate the current status of monitored equipment. Zabbix can be difficult to implement initially, but using auto-detection and different templates can make it easier. In addition to the installation package, Zabbix is available as a virtual appliance for several popular hypervisors.
Icinga is another great open-source network monitoring tool. Icinga was originally a branch of the Nagios monitoring system before being recently rewritten into a standalone solution called Icinga 2. Currently, both versions of the program are actively developed and available. While Icinga 1.x is compatible with many Nagios plugins and configurations, Icinga 2 was designed to be less cumbersome, more efficient, and more user-friendly. It has a modular architecture and a multi-threaded design, which is not the case with Nagios or Icinga 1. Several variations of the web interface for Icinga are offered.
Icinga is a monitoring and alerting software platform as open and extensible as Nagios. The main difference is in the configuration process: Icinga can be configured via the web interface, while Nagios uses configuration files and the command line. This feature is a boon for those who prefer to manage their monitoring software without the command line. Icinga integrates with many monitoring software packages, such as PNP4Nagios, inGraph, and Graphite, for reliable visualization of your network.
Paessler's PRTG VPS network monitoring tool is an integrated solution that is suitable for businesses of all sizes. Its configuration is dynamic, meaning your monitoring capabilities can increase or decrease depending on your business' operational requirements. PRTG is more than just a server monitoring tool, it can monitor all computing resources that connect to your network. PRTG can send email and SMS alerts based on thresholds you set. This means you can adjust the sensitivity of specific servers so you receive more frequent warnings from critical servers and almost no noise from others.
The application can monitor all the aspects you need to know about your server, such as CPU load, hard drive capacity and performance, RAM usage, and bandwidth. Administrators have the entire server environment in front of them thanks to customizable dashboards and reports. Specific charts and analyses can be generated for specific needs. Predefined templates facilitate configuration processes and speed up your first installation. Other major features include distributed monitoring, flexible alerting methods, multiple user interfaces, failover-aware monitoring, and customizable maps and dashboards. This tool is free only for 100 sensors, download it only if your system is small or you are willing to pay for these services.
If you've ever had to search for devices in your network to connect to your switches via Telnet, if you've ever had to do a MAC address lookup or determine the physical location of certain devices, you'll be interested in NeDi. NeDi constantly scans the network infrastructure, catalogs devices, and tracks everything it detects. Just like Cacti, NeDi is a completely free tool linked to LAMP. It regularly scans the MAC addresses and ARP tables of switches on your network and catalogs each device detected in a local database. This tool is not very well known, but it can be very useful in corporate networks where devices are constantly changing and moving.
You can use NeDi's web interface to search for a switch, switch port, access point, or other device by its MAC address, IP address, or DNS name. NeDi collects all possible information from every network device it encounters and extracts serial numbers, firmware and software versions, common date and time settings, module configurations, and more. NeDi to locate the MAC addresses of lost or stolen devices; if these reappear in the network, NeDi will inform you.
Configuration management is simple, a single configuration file allows you to significantly increase the number of settings and jump devices based on regular expressions or specified network limits. NeDi typically uses Cisco Discovery Protocol or Link Layer Discovery Protocol to discover new switches and routers, then connects to them to collect their information.
The Ntop Project, better known as Ntopng, is a cutting-edge network monitoring tool with a fast and easy-to-use web interface. This packet analysis tool displays real-time network traffic data, including information about host data flows and real-time host connections. Ntop offers good charts and tables representing current and past network traffic, including protocol, source, purpose, and history of specific transactions. You will also find an impressive set of graphs, tables, and maps showing network usage in real-time.
Its modular architecture allows it to accommodate a large number of modules. Ntop has an API for the Lua scripting language, which can be used to support extensions. Ntop can also store host data in RRD files, for permanent data collection. One of the most useful applications of Ntopng is controlling traffic at a specific location. For example, if some of your network channels appear red on your network map and you don't know why, you can use Ntopng to get a report for every minute of activity on the problematic network segment and quickly see which hosts are responsible for this. issue. Such visibility on the network presents an indisputable advantage and is very easy to obtain.
Spiceworks Network Monitor
Spiceworks Network Monitor is extremely flexible and scalable, allowing independent thresholds per system or per device. This software is ideal for more granular monitoring of memory, disk activity, and much more.
Its implementation is simple and quick. It runs on a virtual machine or in a physical box. It is resource-efficient, but can consume a lot of disk space: if it is co-located with another application, the disk can fill up quickly if you do not put order in the logs or automate the cleanup. This software works without an agent, so it has little or no impact on the monitored devices. It can even monitor SNMP traps from switches, printers, copiers, and other devices. It provides excellent monitoring outside of working hours. It monitors both servers and switches, physical devices, and virtual devices.
However, it has some drawbacks. This software does not take into account the recovery of systems that fail - sometimes when connection links are down, they are not restored in the software even if they are physical. They must therefore be deleted and then added again. And the user interface is quite slow. However, since the software is free, there is no risk in trying it.
Observium is another network equipment and server monitoring program that supports a wide range of devices using the SNMP protocol. Observium is relatively easy to install and configure. It is installed as its own server, with a dedicated URL. From the GUI, you can add hosts and networks and set auto-discovery ranges and SNMP data so that Observium can explore surrounding networks and collect data on each detected system. Observium is also capable of detecting network devices via CDP, LLDP, or FDP. Depending on the device, data may be collected and displayed for each detected port.
The user-friendly user interface offers advanced statistical data display features, as well as charts and graphs. Observium can display information about the status of CPU, RAM, data storage, power, temperature, etc. from the event log. You can also include data collection and graphical performance counters for various services such as Apache, MySQL, BIND, Memcached, and Postfix. Observium works great as a virtual machine, so it can quickly become the primary tool for obtaining information about the health of servers and networks. It is a great way to add autodiscovery and graphing to a network, regardless of its size.
Netwrix Auditor for Windows Server Free Community Edition
We've reviewed many great infrastructure monitoring tools. However, if system administrators detect Windows server performance issues, they should inspect the configuration changes to determine the cause of the problem and quickly fix it. For this reason, a system change monitoring tool is very valuable. Netwrix Auditor for Windows Server Free Community Edition sends daily email reports detailing what was changed on each Windows server and when it happened, with "before" and "after" values. It reports, for example, software and hardware installations as well as changes to scheduled tasks, services, and the registry. Installation of the product is simple and the user interface is friendly and fast. The reports are very clear and well structured, which makes this tool a great complement to other Windows application performance monitoring tools. In addition to reporting on changes made to Windows Server, Netwrix Auditor Free Community Edition's daily activity summary reports provide the crucial what, when, and where details, as well as before and after values for each change made to multiple other systems critical ones like Active Directory, Group Policy, Azure AD, Exchange, Office 365, File Servers, SharePoint, Microsoft SQL Server, and VMware.
By installing the product, you benefit from all the features of Netwrix Auditor during a free 20-day trial period, then you must choose whether to purchase a license or opt for the free community version. Netwrix Auditor offers many benefits over the free Community Edition, including "Who" details for each reported event and features for file analysis, user behavior and blind spot analysis, risk assessment, integrated audit data search, threat profile alerts, and video recording of user activities. You can view the full comparison table here. In short, Netwrix Auditor is not only a very useful server administration and monitoring tool, but it is also an enterprise software platform that gives you complete visibility into changes, configurations, and access in your Cloud and local computing environment.